Your team is likely to generate a lot of metadata throughout the course of your edit, so it’s important you understand how Avid resolves conflicts between cloned clips in shared projects. Make a plan to safeguard your metadata from irreversible changes later. An example scenario is from the perspective of a documentary assistant, but many of the principles apply no matter what genre.

Typical Metadata problem

To understand why these practices are important, this scenario example is all too possible in an archival delivery workflow:

An AE typically uses a separate ingest project to link and transcode clips. They clone new clips from the ingest project into a dated delivery bin and open those bins in the editor’s project. The clips eventually move into a master archival bin in the editor project.

One evening, a single clip arrives late in the day and the AE uses the open bin command to open the master archival bin directly instead of the usual delivery bin workflow. The process seems to work normally, but the next day markers are missing on many of the editor’s clips. Despite attempts to recover editor work from the attic, the markers appear to be gone. What happened?

Duplicating vs Cloning

There is an important difference between duplicating (“…copy.01”) vs cloning (alt/option + dragging) clips:

  • Duplicated clips both link to the same media files, but are considered to be unique master clips by Avid. Duplicated clips may coexist in the same bin and each have unique metadata.
  • Cloned clips on the other hand, are considered identical to Avid. They can only exist in separate bins and they share metadata. Each clip may collect metadata in each separate bin, but if the host bins are opened at the same time on a workstation, the differences between them get resolved automatically. These changes happen without prompting a user, and changes can fly under the radar until reversing them is exceedingly complicated.

Metadata Conflicts

If you’ve worked in a shared Avid project before, you may have heard that metadata conflicts are resolved in the order of which bin was opened first (the first opened being the source for the copy.) That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, or at least not all the time. Factors like reference clips in bins, Avid version, and metadata types have all muddied the waters of the rules the software follows. There is no documentation online as to how metadata copies with cloned clips. It seems obvious for developers to add a confirmation window, but Avid has not yet implemented such a tool. So how can your team work around it?

Sequence Marker Workflows

We recommend your team work in reels. Sequences offer significant advantages over regular master clips as they are always unique, so markers in them are safe. Sequences may be loaded in the source window by clicking and dragging them into the source monitor. From there they can be played like master clips.

We have seen success with “archival by subject” sequence reels, where AEs sequentially add new content at end of a given subject’s sequence. Sequence colors or markers therein may be used to indicate new material to editors. The sequences may be loaded as a source clip for marking up, or as an editable sequence for cutting down.

Sequence markers can also be used retroactively as a backup of marker data. If markers were added to a master clip accidentally, simply insert the entire clip into a new sequence. If the original master clip loses it marker data, the backup sequence markers will preserve a copy, and those markers may be copied back to the master clip using the markers tool (provided both are the same duration.)

Bin Column Metadata Workarounds

Metadata stored in bin columns is subject to the same problems as markers, though risks are more easily mitigated. Keep logging simple and complete logging in columns before delivering to editors. A subject or topic breakdown and perhaps a general quality score from the archival team are usually sufficient to get a clip delivered.

After delivery, if you want to break things down further, try working with subclips. Just like duplicate clips, subclips inherit their logging data from their master source clip but are considered independent from their source clip afterward. Experiment with logging practices early on with your editor to find out what works best for everyone.